TREKS ALONG HISTORIC ESCAPE ROUTES THAT CROSS BORDERS
Step into adventure for a once in a lifetime expedition or trek on the Freedom Trail or Chemin de la Liberté. Life is too short not to explore. Our mountain adventures will leave you with cherished life-long memories. Follow in the trail of pioneers from the past, relive their adventures and see how they survived! Delve into local communities, their culture and traditions. Our treks are organised so as to benefit local communities. You can take part to challenge yourself or benefit a charity. Share your journey with likeminded people, embracing nature and history along the way.
We are based in the Pyrenees and have helped the Freedom Trail be a reality for over 500 escapees since 2014. We would love you to join us in 2024.
We have departures starting in France and crossing to Spain or Andorra following known and published WW2 escape lines. We love to bring history to life!
FREEDOM TRAILS: OPTIONS AND DATES FOR 2024
A journey taken by Jewish philosopher Walter Benjimin and may others during WW2 above the Vermillion coast and Costa Brava in the Alberes mountains. This was the route where escapees fled to Barcelona and beyond. We offer a classic route crossing the Col de Rumpissa and also an alternative escape over the Col de Banyuls, which was used both in the Spanish Civil War and WW2. You can also discover the role MI9 and SOE Special Operations Executive played in supporting escape lines. For this trek, we meet in Perpignan or Collioure and finish in Barcelona. Flights are best to Toulouse, Perpignan or Barcelona.
This trek was covered by Jessica Shaw in the NY Times. You can read more about it in Jessica’s excellent and moving article.
Classic Coastal Freedom Trail — Lisa Fittko and WW2 Escape Cols
Visiting escape cols used in the Spanish civil war and WW2. This Coastal Freedom Trail is hotel-based adventure following in the footseps of Lisa Fittko, a well-known guide or passeur, climbing up through the Alberes Mountains.
Collioure — Cadaques.
01 March — 30 June 2024
We offer the more challenging commemorative route crossing from France to Spain or a shorter Andorra Freedom Trail. The shorter route is roughly three follows following the passeurs footsteps from Tarascon-Sur-Ariege over to Soldeu over the 2262m Porte de Font Argente. The classic route is four days. Do get in touch if you have any questions about which route you might most enjoy. We look forward to hearing from you!
With either option we also have the chance to understand the context of the escapees’ journeys. There is the outdoor monument to les evadies in Tarascon and we offer a WW2 city tour of Toulouse, visiting Aeroscopia or the Resistance museum in Toulouse, as part of the trek programme.
1-6 June 24
8-13 June 24
1-6 July 24
28 September – 3 October 24
Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
5-10 July 24
10-15 July 24
1-6 August 24
21-26 August 24
28 August — 2 September 24
15-20 September 24
28 September – 3 October 24
Please ask if you don’t see a date that works for you here. We are running some other Freedom Trails for our large tour operator partners at other times in 2024 but are more than happy to try and fit you in.
We offer family experience Freedom Trail trips where you will experience a section of the Freedom Trail and have a family wild camp passing a WW2 memorial where escapees fled to Andorra as 3 day long cultural and historic weekends or 5-day trips where we have escape and evasion activities and games included at the wild camp cabane refuge and a chance to escape to Andorra. These are offered in May, June and October 24.
Freedom Trail wild camp Family experience and Halifax bomber – 5 days
You will get to see real artifacts from WW2 and then follow a commemorative escape route leading into a wild camp nestled in a remote cirque. The next day we will climb up to visit the Halifax bomber (2100m) crashed on the hill side before descending and returning to the col de la Core and back down to Seix.
These trips are booking up fast. Contact us if you would like to join or talk about the route. Email email@example.com or call +44 7951058053 or +33 781799006 to setup a zoom call
If you would like a flavour of the freedom trail for a less tough challenge then we offer freedom trail experiences and Escape and Evasion for families
Sea to Summit on El Teide (3715m), Tenerife, Climb a volcano DATES OUT! Flights to Tenerife South with Easy Jet for a good price now! We have 7- and 8-day Sea to Summit challenges. This is not only an incredible challenge but an island with a rich history and the geology on the volcanic plateau is second to none with truly unusual basaltic emissions from large magmatic chambers that formed three separate sectors that probably formed three independent islands: the Anaga peninsula, the Teno peninsula and the Roque del Conde sector. We will take half a day to discover more.
24 April -4 May 24Available
16-24 June 24 Available
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 7951058053
If you are a group of 3+ please do get intouch on email@example.com to enjoy the final dates of the year. As we get enquiries from individuals we will also put up more dates 🙂
We often move between France, Spain and Andorra but also in Europe. Our programmes are covid flexible so we can cross a border but not stay depending on the situation. Why not also try Andorra 3 Nations Trek (France, Spain, Andorra) climbing the highest peak en route or Sea to Summit on El Teide (3715m), Tenerife, Spains highest peak.
The dolomites WW1 history with its tunnels and open air museums also inspires. These trips have a strong meaning for the people you will meet on the ground and as well as being a challenge. We can share stories and challenges of the escapees and local communities having researched the history and operations that made these journeys possible in depth. We can learn alot today from border communities and view parallels in post conflict society today. Cathar way and Carcassonne and Coastal Freedom trail are les arduous trips or challenges for those who want to explore the regions culture in a more relaxed and luxurious manner.
Mainly hotel based trek in the Alberes mountains and on the beautiful vermillion coast and Costa Brava. See Jessica’s excellent and moving article for the New York Times on “Recreating a Family’s Lost Holocaust History, Step by Step” is here as we helped her recreate and find more about her father and grandfathers steps: https://www.nytimes.com/…/holocaust-pyrenees-jewish…
We also offer cultural adventures or tougher expeditions to iconic peaks such as Toubkal and Aconcagua. We use expert guides specialised to each trip.
What’s on from November 23 until June 24?
Snowy fun: From our Pyrenees base we are excited for French and Andorran Pyrenees snowshoeing, weekend to a full week plus Pyrenees winter fun & wellness/yoga in January, February and March.
Following Escape routes: In March and April we will take to the lower Alberes mountains to the East for the WW2 Coastal Freedom Trail and escape cols. Why not run or walk a section of the Cathar way or Cathar Explorer with us starting in Carcassonne follows the story and escapes of the Cathars and the Albigensian crusade in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Inspired to for a peak, fancy a challenge? Join us to summit on El Teide, Tenerife Sea to Summit (3715m), Mount Toubkal Long Weekend (4167m) Kalymnos round island trek 100km and its highest point or on a longer trip into the stunning Annapurna Sanctuary or Helambu Gosaikunda lakes, Nepal with the option to climb a 5,000m peak. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrance of Arabia in Wadi Rum Jordan and experience the highest mountain in Africa and some stunning wildlife on the Kilimanjaro Northern Route
Why we do it? We are really excited to show you beautiful places and support a good cause at the same time. Walking or running for a reason! Sharing history and culture, nature and ideas and the moment. You can do these with us as an individual, group or charity.
Climb Snowdon Sea to Summit & slate mines, Gritstone 9 edges challenge (1 day or long weekend), Dark Peak White peak challenge, Battle of Britain Memorial walk, Dover coastline, Yorkshire 3 peaks, climb UK, Cornish Coastal challenge, embrace marine life and cream tea!, the New forest 5km, 10km and half marathon trek fest weekend challenges and the Snowdonia 7 Summits. All 1-6 day trips and so if you would like to do just one day on any of these please ask! We have open events especially for charities and have helped many fundraisers with their ambitions. We are happy to be supporting the charity SANE on the cornish Coastal Challenge in October 21. Do sign up to help them.
OUR FABULOUS PYRENEES ADVENTURES
Week, long weekend and day snowshoeing, pick and mix winter activity fun local to Ax les Thermes and Andorra. We love winter fun! What makes this region unique is you can also relax in thermal baths post walk and/or combine with skiing.
Already living in France, Spain or Andorra? Day and weekend mountain experiences
Our treks or walks can be geared to you if you are coming from Toulouse, Carcassonne, Bordeaux, Puigcerda, or Andorra la Vella for the day. We are only 1hr-1.5 hours away depending on your base. My mission is to help you fall in love with this fascinating border region. We are so close to both Spain and Andorra with a fine selection of mountain experiences, cultural adventures and historical escapes. We can also offer to the border treks to step into Spain or Andorra in a weekend or just for the day as wall as mountain refuge trips, historic Cathar castles or just into the wild.
Day Trips and Mountain weekends
- Pyrenees 2-3000m peaks
- To the border: Spain or Andorra
- Cathar culture
- The Halifax Bomber experience
If you are coming as a group we offer apartment accommodation at ChezArran.
Click here to find all our fabulous Pyrenees Freedom Trail Treks adventures! We have themed day or weekend walks too so you can pick challenge, relaxation or wildlife options in partnership with Roam and Retreat.
REST OF THE WORLD
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrance of Arabia in Wadi Rum Jordan or circumvent a Greek island on foot and by boat for 100km on Kalymnos, go on the track of red pandas in Nepal. These are amazing choices from our favourite non European places to be!